Abstract: Numerous applications have required the study of CO 2 plasmas since the 1960s, from CO 2 lasers to spacecraft heat shields. However, in recent years, intense research activities on the subject have restarted because of environmental problems associated with CO 2 emissions. The present review provides a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on the physical chemistry of cold CO 2 plasmas. In particular, the different modeling approaches implemented to address specific aspects of CO 2 plasmas are presented. Throughout the paper, the importance of conducting joint experimental, theoretical and modeling studies to elucidate the complex couplings at play in CO 2 plasmas is emphasized. Therefore, the experimental data that are likely to bring relevant constraints to the different modeling approaches are first reviewed. Second, the calculation of some key elementary processes obtained with semi-empirical, classical and quantum methods is presented. In order to describe the electron kinetics, the latest coherent sets of cross section satisfying the constraints of “electron swarm” analyses are introduced, and the need for self-consistent calculations for determining accurate electron energy distribution function (EEDF) is evidenced. The main findings of the latest zero-dimensional (0D) global models about the complex chemistry of CO 2 and its dissociation products in different plasma discharges are then given, and full state-to-state (STS) models of only the vibrational-dissociation kinetics developed for studies of spacecraft shields are described. Finally, two important points for all applications using CO 2 containing plasma are discussed: the role of surfaces in contact with the plasma, and the need for 2D/3D models to capture the main features of complex reactor geometries including effects induced by fluid dynamics on the plasma properties. In addition to bringing together the latest advances in the description of CO 2 non-equilibrium plasmas, the results presented here also highlight the fundamental data that are still missing and the possible routes that still need to be investigated.
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